Pregnancy Problems - part 2

Asthma

Pregnant women with asthma must take all steps necessary to counter attacks of asthma, and the use of medications must not be so restricted in woman who suffer from rhinitis and other conditions. The most important thing to remember is that the fetus requires a constant supply of oxygen for development - this is sourced from the mother's bloodstream continuously. Some complications are added as the growth of the fetus increases an upward pressure against the pulmonary cavity of the mother, as the larger baby presses against the mother internally-the volume of air in the mother's lungs may be significantly reduced over time. The fetus may not get all the oxygen it requires particularly when the blood oxygen levels in the mother's blood is depleted by asthma attacks - which of course will be complicated by the low gas levels already existing in the mother's lungs. The maintenance of optimal oxygen levels within the mother's lungs is a major aim during pregnancy as it assures the fetus will develop properly. Thus in pregnant women with asthma, the treatment of the condition is necessitated to maintain oxygen levels, this includes the use of steroids and other drugs capable of suppressing the asthmatic attacks.

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The outcome of the pregnancy is most likely positive, whether an ongoing dose of medication is necessary or not in a pregnant woman affected by asthma. In addition, the health of the woman and the fetus must be monitored throughout the term of the pregnancy by all appropriate medical specialists - this monitoring is usually carried out by an obstetrician and an allergy or pulmonary medical specialist.

None of the risks are likely to have dramatic consequences even though there exists a lot of conflicting evidence on whether women affected by asthma possess a greater chance of being affected by complications during a term of pregnancy - this can include the appearance of disorders like toxemia, vaginal bleeding, and nausea and vomiting during the first trimester. None of these factors are potentially serious and can probably be managed if detected early.

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The risk of death for asthma afflicted women does not increase during the term of pregnancy. However, there exists a slight increase in the chances of the fetus not surviving to full term - if the mother suffers from asthma. In addition to this, the risk of a premature birth is also slightly higher; the increase is in the ranges of three or two in every hundred births and is thus unsubstantial. Moreover, some asthma afflicted patients, will not be able to distinguish between an asthmatic attack and the sudden effects of psychological triggers like anxiety or physical fatigue - which are on the whole very similar to asthma attacks. The symptoms caused by different factors or conditions is much more difficult to distinguish during the term of pregnancy, sharp distinctions between symptoms from various condition are often not easily identified because of the increased blood volume and the higher rate of respiration often seen during pregnancy. Even in the healthiest regnant women, these factors can bring about breathlessness and a pounding heart. The presence of these sensations can be uncomfortable and disturbing to the mother. An asthma attack may cause such symptoms and asthmatic woman may naturally wonder if these symptoms possibly precede an asthmatic attack.

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Safe medications

Discussion with an asthma specialist and with a medical doctor or an obstetrician is ideal for all women who are affected by asthma, before any conception is planned - this will enable the woman to know just how to react to attacks during the term of the pregnancy. The maximum benefit will accrue if the woman can be medically supervised by a medical team that has worked successfully together on some other woman. All triggers and risk factors that might cause an attack of asthma must be studiously avoided in order to minimize the need for any form of medication - this simply means that the woman must avoid allergens such as dust mites or cockroaches which might be present in the environment, she must also stay away from participating in physically vigorous exercises - which might trigger an attack.

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In addition, conception must ideally be preceded by an optimal treatment regimen against all possible disorders. To prevent being affected by allergens, the woman may use inhaled beta 2 agonists - which are adrenaline like prescription medications, the woman may also try using cromolyn or Intal. The woman can also try using the inhaled steroids rather than the oral steroids - the use of these chemicals may however, not always be feasible or necessary. For pregnant woman, the optimal oral steroids are the chemicals known as prednisone and methylprednisolone which can be used during the whole term of pregnancy. The chemical known as Dexamethasone-or Decadron-must not be used at any stage of the pregnancy. This is because the chemical may be absorbed into the blood and can directly affect the fetus even when its use is via a nasal spray or by inhaler.

Women who intend to conceive may benefit from a trail of cromolyn, several months before the actual time of conception-this will give the optimal results against complications. The use of this medication reduces or eliminates the need to use other medications during a period of pregnancy and has been tested and been found to be very safe for pregnant women - early use will preclude the development of complications later on during the pregnancy itself. The medication must be started as early as possible because the effectiveness of the drug is likely to take up to two months to become apparent in the body of the woman.

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Asthmatic attacks that are mild or occur at intermittent periods may be adequately suppressed using inhaled beta 2 agonists-these chemicals are often combined with the drug cromolyn for maximum effectiveness. Another drug that is considered safe is the medication known as albuterol, which is very commonly used during a term of pregnancy. This medication is the drug of choice for use during pregnancies. In addition, women may also take the oral forms of the beta 2 agonists-including compounds like albuterol, metaproterenol, and terbutaline during their term of pregnancy.

While not as high on the safety record as the drug cromolyn, many tests have shown that the medication known as theophylline - a substance related to the alkaloid caffeine has a satisfactory safety record for use on pregnant women. At the same time, there are also many doctors who will think twice about prescribing the drug to pregnant women. If inhalers used alone does not work well on a patient, than such patients provided they cope well with controlled use of theophylline may be prescribed the drug during their term of pregnancy.

The most helpful drugs during pregnancy are the inhaled steroids. There is no known increase in incidences of fetal malformations or abortions - in other words, miscarriages - as per the data available on women who used these steroids. However, a slightly negative effect was observed from the use of the drug on animal test subjects.

Unless it is a case, where the pregnant woman does not tolerate other medications, the use of triamcinolone acetonide - known as Azmacort - is not suggested, as this medication has a lower safety rating than the other types of medications. No unequivocal demonstration of the harmful effects of these other medications has as yet been shown on human fetuses. While careful medical supervision is still needed, it is also possible to use some of the oral steroids can be used with success on pregnant patients. The level of medical supervision must be even more rigorous for patients who are pregnant.

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